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Imagining disorder, engendering change 
Katja Rieck (Orient-Institut Istanbul)
Sebastian Schueler
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John Hume Boardroom
Start time:
26 August, 2010 at
Time zone: Europe/London
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

The workshop will examine the emergence of imaginings of rupture, contingency or indeterminacy, i.e. disorder in specific socio-political or historical constellations and how they engender practices and sentiments that (aim to) bring about social change.

Long Abstract:

The term crisis in its present-day sense first emerged during the 17th century to refer to a moment in which the existing order of things appeared precarious, even inherently contingent. 'Crisis' thus embodies a particular imagining of contingency, indeterminacy and rupture, or disorder, that is integral to human existence, but which in post-Enlightenment thinking runs counter to a supposedly determinate cosmic order grounded in rational principles. And yet it is because of this particular imagining that choices and commitments are made. As such, the notion of crisis, in being intimately linked to corresponding ideas of human agency, responsibility and right action towards the achievement of a better society, embodies a kind of structure within dissolution, an ordered disorder, that is constitutive of modern societies in the West .

Taking this particular imagining of disorder as a point of departure, the workshop invites interested participants to examine specific imaginings of disorder, how they emerge in response to particular events or in particular socio-political or historical constellations. Among the questions addressed are: How do specific imaginings of disorder become meaningful in particular contexts? What practices and sentiments do they engender that make them socially or politically powerful? How do notions of disorder relate to the (pre-)existing order, do they bolster it or coalesce into movements for change? Can fresh insights into the dynamics of social change be gleaned from focussing on actors' imaginings of disorder?

Accepted papers:

Session 1